amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

GRASSROOTS: The GMT Initiative Blog

Grassroots reports on the work of amfAR-supported research teams and advocates responding to the devastating impact of HIV among gay men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender individuals (collectively, GMT).

Video: Introducing the GMT Initiative Study Team in Myanmar

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Posted by Lucile Scott, December 4, 2015


In November, as Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party was swept into power by the country’s first free and fair national election in half a century, an amfAR-funded implementation science study to improve HIV testing and treatment among the country’s gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals (collectively, GMT) got underway.

In the above video, members of the team based in Yangon discuss the study and the impact it will have in Myanmar, which was not open to international HIV researchers before 2011, when its 50-year long military dictatorship was officially dissolved.

The study is a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland;  the International HIV/AIDS Alliance Myanmar; the Myanmar Ministry of Health; the University of Public Health of Myanmar; and two community-based organizations—the Myanmar MSM Network and the Myanmar Youth Star Network.

In Myanmar, same-sex sexual activity is illegal and many GMT individuals are hidden and hard to access through traditional HIV outreach methods. As a result, testing rates and treatment access among them remain dangerously low. The study team is seeking to access these hard-to-reach individuals through innovative HIV testing and treatment technologies, including home-based HIV self-testing, point-of-care CD4 testing, and peer navigation through healthcare systems.

To find out more about HIV in Myanmar and the implementation science study, click here.